Wolves in the hunt

Joon­dalup chase fifth SBL cham­pi­onship.

North Coast Weekender - - Front Page -

THE Joon­dalup Wolves have been to the State Bas­ket­ball League grand final more times than any other team this decade.

The Perth Red­backs haven’t been to the big dance in 18 years and haven’t won a ti­tle since 1997.

It makes for a clas­sic sport­ing sce­nario of the dom­i­nant ver­sus the suc­cess starved when the sides meet in the cham­pi­onship game at the Ben­dat Bas­ket­ball Cen­tre on Saturday night.

Wolves coach Ben Et­tridge was of the opin­ion that it would not pro­duce any­thing Joon­dalup hadn’t al­ready faced in fi­nals against Cock­burn and Ger­ald­ton.

“Cock­burn had a cou­ple of big­time scor­ers and then the Buccs had three guys we had to key in on,” he said. “They’ve got mul­ti­ple av­enues to the bas­ket, but we’ve hung our hat on be­ing the best de­fen­sive team in the league over the past three or four years.”

No big­ger name graces the Bel­mont-based Red­backs’ line-up than four-time Perth Wild­cats cham­pi­onship player Shawn Red­hage. But Et­tridge said they did not have a spe­cific Red­hage plan.

“If you make one guy the fo­cus, it takes away from how we do things,” he said.

Of greater ben­e­fit is the side’s cun­ning player man­age­ment ap­proach. Et­tridge boasted his start­ing five had played fewer min­utes than most other sides.

While the Wolves’ grand final loss to Cock­burn last year of­fered mo­ti­va­tion, there would not be a lot they could take out of that clash. Joon­dalup had adopted a faster game style this sea­son, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to com­pare the two grand fi­nals.

But the ex­pe­ri­ence and the team’s other three grand final ap­pear­ances from 2011 to 2016 would give them an edge.

Pic­ture: Michael Far­nell

Wolves coach Ben Et­tridge.

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